When your company starts hiring workers, you need to have a written employment contract for them to sign. Verbal employment contracts leave too much unsaid and could lead to major disputes in the future. The same is true of contracts that are not thorough enough.
One of the more important ways that an employer can protect itself is by including a sexual harassment policy in its employee contract or handbook.
Why are these policies so important?
They help deter worker misconduct
If employees start a job under the impression that they will face significant repercussions for inappropriate jokes or unwanted advances on the job, then they are less likely to engage in those behaviors.
Ensuring that every employee knows that your company should be harassment-free and discrimination-free will stop some people from acting out and may prompt others to speak up about mistreatment.
They establish a way for workers to report issues
It’s generally a good idea for businesses to have a way for workers experiencing harassment or discrimination to speak up without involving their direct supervisor or other people who might be involved in the misconduct.
By creating a specific method for reporting harassment on the job, your company makes it easier for workers to speak up about their experiences. You can also create clear internal records about the report, your investigation and how you resolved the matter.
You may be able to more effectively defend your company against financial liability related to discrimination or harassment claims because of an employee’s behavior by keeping a log of harassment complaints and your efforts to investigate them.
Including the right terms in your employment contracts will help you protect your business against claims that it allowed sexual harassment to go unchecked.